What Are You Really Saying?

Updated: Aug 18, 2021

In a recent conversation with a colleague, we were discussing the costs and benefits of a college education. There is a great deal of evidence supporting findings of enhanced lifetime earning capacity among college graduates. I shared additional benefits studied, such as healthier lives, longer marriages, and greater levels of happiness. On the other hand, my colleague lamented the extraordinary cost and how she would be spending years paying off the debts she incurred to obtain her education. At every turn and each time I tried to re-direct her attention, she would bring the conversation back to high costs and debt surrounding college. Eventually, I felt it necessary to explain that while I agreed it could be expensive, the benefits far outweighed those costs. Because of this fact, I would never advise someone not to further their education. She agreed wholeheartedly and stated she would never tell someone not to attend college. But isn't that what she had been doing the entire time?

If I discuss a movie with someone and all I have to say are negative things about the movie, is that not the same thing as telling someone not to go see it? If discussing a friend in only negative terms, am I really discussing a friend? If talking about a favorite hobby only in negative terms, am I not trying to dissuade you from that hobby?

We don't always realize the message we are sending. When confronted with our own words, we can be surprised to find out what we have really been saying all along. With that in mind, what messages have you been sending to your significant other, your family, and your co-workers? Every job, every relationship, every moment has good and bad about it. Do we tell our children what we like about them and about being parents? Do we tell our spouses what we like about them and being married? Do we tell our co-workers what we like about them and our jobs? Do we tell our bosses good things and express gratitude for our jobs? Do we tell our friends how much they mean to us?

I encourage you to stop for a moment and think about how you feel. If you like your job, your family, and your situation, tell someone involved in it. If you don't like your situation, change it. Be mindful of what you are really saying because someone is listening to you. You matter and so do your words. Make your messages full of hope, love, and encouragement for yourself and others. If you change your words to match how you really feel, you may be amazed at the life you create!